Monday, November 16, 2009

Oak Trees

Today, I could not help but notice the beautiful Pin Oak Tree out in the back field holding on to it's golden leaves on this beautiful Monday. Long ago, the Druids revered this tree and believed it to be holy and a symbol of truth. They saw the oak as giving peace and shelter to those who rested under it. Maybe because oak trees hold on to their leaves through the winter until new leaves begin to emerge the following spring. However, I've never found it to be good shelter on a windy fall day when it seems to be raining sharp and, oh yes, very hard acorns on my head...ouch!

Oaks are very recognizable because of their shape and especially by their leaves and those acorns they produce in the fall. I remember being a newlywed nearly 30 years ago and taking walks with Peter when he was out and about labeling trees and collecting specimens of leaves and bark for Landscape Architecture classes at Purdue University. He would always say you can recognize a Pin Oak because it is as straight as a pin. It never delves from this. When you look at an oak tree, especially a very old and tall one, you may think it is wise and mighty. In fact it is often referred to in literature as the "mighty oak," when compared to other trees, standing stalwart against the pressures of time as well as the forces of nature.

There are many old superstitions in garden lore concerning the oak tree. One says that you can make a charm of acorns by carrying three with you in your pocket. It is said that these three acorns will help you preserve your youthfulness and beauty and also help you to attain your life goals. Another superstition says that if you keep at least one acorn in your pocket at all times, you will never get lost, be caught in a storm and, in general, keep evil away. And, if you paint a smiling face on your acorn, you will make it an even stronger charm by bringing out it's personality. Wow, that's a lot of responsibility for one little acorn. Unfortunately, for me, I waited far too long into the fall season to hunt for these little gems just for these purposes because the squirrels have gathered up all there is to gather up. I'll just have to hold on to the few I've found and hope these charms work! If you find some acorns to keep in your pocket, let me know how they work for you.

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